Tour Buzz

THE CHANGES: There was a time when REO Speedwagon, Styx and Ted Nugent were virtually all you heard on rock radio. That time was 1978, when Styx released the album Pieces of Eight, REO Speedwagon You Can Tune a Piano But You Can’t Tuna Fish, and Ted Nugent Weekend Warriors. “Mr. Roboto,” “Can’t Fight this Feeling” and Nugent’s spot on the National Rifle Association’s board of directors were all years away, and what we had were three rock powerhouses. Perhaps we’ll catch a whiff of that bygone age when the three play at Planet Hollywood on May 5 ($51-$101), but it’s tough to say. Styx doesn’t have original singer Dennis DeYoung, Nugent has gone kind of nuts, and REO Speedwagon … actually, REO Speedwagon should be just fine. They’ve got most of their founding members, and “Roll with the Changes” still rocks, 1978-style.

HOT CARLOS: Here are a few mostly true facts about Carlos Santana, who’s playing the House of Blues on May 4-6, 9 and 11-13 ($137-$179). He owns a chain of Mexican restaurants called Maria Maria, whose closest location is in Danville, Calif. Although best known for “Smooth,” his 1999 collaboration with Matchbox 20 singer Rob Thomas, Santana’s career actually extends several years before that. Some claim that he’s been active since the ’60s, but those guys are really old now and they ingested a boatload of drugs in the ’70s on top of that, so take them with a grain. And the orgasmic expression Santana makes when playing guitar, once thought to be the virtuoso player bonding with his instrument, is just Santana trying to keep “Smooth” from getting stuck in his head.

NOW ON SALE: On June 23, the Red Rock Resort welcomes Def Leppard ($31-$164)—the band responsible for some 87 percent of the music played in Las Vegas’ strip clubs. Every time sugar is poured at the Spearmint Rhino, Def Leppard’s collective wallet grows suggestively.

Suggested Next Read

Sparks Minus Sparkle


Sparks Minus Sparkle

By Michael Phillips, Tribune Media Services

You don’t need a message in a bottle to get the word out: Author Nicholas Sparks knows his audience. Conservative moviegoers (along with plenty of centrists and liberals) take to the latest Sparks adaptation, gratefully. They know they’re not going to get roughed up in terms of content, or ideologically insulted: Sparks writes best-sellers that treat military personnel with respect, churchgoing Christians likewise and red-state backdrops with fond, photogenic care.